Friday, February 20, 2009

Words Kids Need To Hear - Chapter 1

Every so often I find a book that articulates me so well that I kind of get mad about it. Mad because I should have written it:) As I read it, I'm thinking, "Holy crap! Someone else out there in the world thinks like me. Why didn't I write this?"

I'll tell you why I didn't write it - because I'm not confident that anyone would care...

I also get mad because as I'm reading it, I realize how reactionary my life has been for the last little while and its the kick in the butt that I need to turn around and become intentional again.

At any rate, I've only read the first chapter of this book, but it is one of those books.

Chapter 1: I believe in you

In a nutshell, communicating to my children that I believe in them instills confidence and belief in themselves. "If my mom believes in me, then I should believe in myself."

Letting my daughters know that I believe in them is different than giving them positive reinforcement. Saying "good job" or "you're a good girl" gives her positive feelings temporarily, however, expressing my belief in the child gives her confidence in the endeavor or adventure that she is embarking on. It means allowing her to try things - even difficult things, even things that will make my life less convenient or put together - and allowing her to do it in her own way to achieve the desired outcome. I believe in you is more about the process than it is about the outcome - and it is more influential than a congratulations, job well done; it is about character rather than shallow praise of an accomplishment.

I believe in you gives her courage when she is scared; gives her confidence to keep trying or try again after she's failed.

I believe in you means being intentional about observing her character rather than reactionary in observing the results. It answers the question: What just happened that is worth noticing?

I believe in you is displayed when I articulate my feelings for her and my observations of her character to other people while she is around and can hear me. It is displayed when I convey my faith in her for the future (ex: I believe you're going to be a good driver instead of ugh, I'm dreading drivers training because you are going to be such a terrible driver). It is displayed by giving her a goal to grow into. It is displayed by allowing her to reach the desired goal by her method rather than dictating to her how it should be done and correcting her when she doesn't do it my way. It is asking for her opinion/input in life and family matters (not everything) and truly taking it into consideration and allowing her to be part of the decision making process.

Great quote: "We all want our children to put their best foot forward. But in childhood and adolescence, sometimes the best foot is the one that is stumble on, providing an opportunity for the child to learn how to regain balance, and right himself." Madeline Levine, PhD.


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